The Rise of Mobile and Location-Based Marketing

The rapid advancement and adoption of mobile technology, as well as the evolution of location-based marketing, are creating significant opportunities for companies to increase profitability and grow their customer base. Marketers are now better poised to influence action near the point of purchase in a timely and relevant manner – and we are just at the tipping point of what’s to come.

Research presented in May by Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist and renowned Internet authority, reveals that we are still in the early stages of smartphone adoption.

From Meeker’s Internet Trends 2012 presentation:

  • 3G penetration is just over 60% in North America and only 18% globally
  • Year over year 3G subscription growth is 37% globally (31% in US and 34% in Canada)

Meeker also revealed that consumers now spend 10% of their media time in mobile and 7% in print. Conversely, print accounted for 25% of advertising spending in the US in 2011, while mobile only accounted for 1%. It seems reasonable to conclude that companies stand to benefit by shifting towards mobile.

Smartphone adoption is key to location-based marketing, which focuses on the integration of media to influence people based on physical location. Asif Khan, Founder & President of the Location Based Marketing Association, stated in his presentation at the 2012 Canadian Marketing Association Summit that only 13% of 3G subscribers use location-based services to search for deals or offers – underscoring the opportunity for marketers, as consumers don’t yet have set expectations.

Marketers can already leverage location-based marketing in a variety of ways – for example, promoting nearby offers through mobile ads or location-based apps such as Foursquare. Many more innovative ways are emerging, using customer data and technologies such as augmented reality to create relevant and engaging experiences.

Technology is advancing and media habits are changing. Now is the time for marketers to embrace location-based marketing.

Canadian Marketing Association Summit 2012 in Review (Day #2)

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Canadian Marketing Association Summit. The annual two day event was packed full of insights and information from true visionaries, with content focussed on this year’s theme on connections – how connections with consumers, customers and with each other are made, maintained, and measured.

This post provides a review of the speaker sessions for day #2. Click here to read a review of the sessions for day #1.

Ethan Zuckerman
“Lessons from Revolutionaries – What Activists Can Teach Us About Social Media”

 

Ethan Zuckerman is an activist and scholar whose work focuses on the global blogosphere, free expression and social translation in the developing world. He is a fellow of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law, founder of Global Voices and the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. Ethan provided an engaging talk about the role of social media in recent world events, from which business parallels and learnings can be derived.

Some key points from Ethan’s talk:

  • Darfur and the Congo are both mired in ongoing travesties, however the Congo isn’t gaining nearly as much international aid ($300 per capita vs. $11 per capita).
    • Media attention based on celebrity support for international charity plays a role – such as Angelina Jolie in the case of Darfur.
    • However, it’s not clear whether attention generated from someone who has a wider following, such as Kim Kardashian, would necessarily result in a similar difference in aid (side note: see this post Ethan wrote for an overview of a new measurement unit for attention, the “Kardashian”).
  • The attention fallacy: “If all you do is gain more attention, change is going to happen”.
  • Attention is not the same as engagement – social change is a long, difficult process.
  • Tunisia, the first country to force its rulers from power in the Arab Spring, has gone through incredible change.
    • Initially, people did not hear about protests due to media suppression.
    • Distraught Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, lit himself on fire – incident captured on video, and sent to Al Jazeera.
    • Sadly Bouazizi died, but he also became the hero of the movement in Tunisia.
  • Revolutions need multiple channels, including new media and old media.
  • Social media enables amplification but not synchronization.
  • Effective campaigns enable people to watch, share and learn as the campaign spreads.
  • Major error in Kony 2012 campaign – the campaign was spreadable, but could not provide answers for hard questions.
  • People want to be heard – need curators and translators.
  • People want to belong – need authenticity.
  • People need stories – stories should be moving, compelling and real.
  • Revolutions come from people doing what’s right for them in their own best interest – need to help them do that.

Twitter: @EthanZ


Jordan Banks and Marie-Josée Lamothe
“How Canadian Brands are taking advantage of the Digital Transformation through the Power of Friends Influencing Friends”

Jordan Banks is the Managing Director of Facebook Canada, and is responsible for leading and managing all commercial operations at the Facebook Canada office. Marie-Josée Lamothe is Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer at L’Oréal Canada. In their session, they shared thoughts – each from their unique perspective as social platform and brand – on how companies can leverage social media and social influence.

Some key points from Jordan:

  • Facebook is just “1% complete” in its evolution.
  • Facebook doesn’t have all the answers, it changes a lot and often.
  • They do things differently – they’re growing fast, but are still small.
  • Several keys to brand building on Facebook:
    • Make social an organizational priority.
    • Realize that social is 24/7 – need to always be “on”.
    • Test, measure and learn.
    • Develop a strategic media mix – consider using traditional to drive online activity.
    • Create great content – “content is king”.
    • Be social and lightweight.
    • Think about why fans should care and share.

Some key points from Marie-Josée:

  • Avoid becoming “Groupon” on Facebook – don’t primarily focus on discounts/promotions to attract fans.
  • Shift focus from marketing promotion to ongoing engagement.
  • Challenge is to provide great content – while always remaining “on” to interact.
  • Social media provides the means to make consumers into true advocates.
  • The traditional marketing model is dead.
  • Need to become less product-centric, more community-centric
  • Cited example “Canada’s Best Beauty Talent“.
    • TV on demand.
    • Activated by Facebook pages.
  • Organizational structure at L’Oreal – customer care and consumer research report into the same person.
  • If companies continue to focus on the old model, the 4 P’s, they will use the consumer.
  • Need to innovate at the same pace as the consumer – and leverage analytics to ensure you’re reading the consumer correctly.
  • L’Oreal invests heavily in employee education.
    • Digital media course for employees.
    • Code of ethics for social media, educating what’s at risk and what’s at stake.

Twitter: @Jordan_Banks, @MJLamothe


Asif Khan
“Realizing a Multi-Channel Location-Based World”

Asif Khan, a veteran tech start-up, business-development and marketing entrepreneur, is the Founder and President of the Location Based Marketing Association. His talk provided some interesting data on the growth and opportunity for location-based marketing. Asif also shared some case studies.

Some key points from Asif:

  • Location-based marketing is about the integration of media to influence people in specific places.
  • By 2014, smartphone sales will top one billion.
  • Why use location based services:
    • Navigation – 46%.
    • Find restaurants – 26%.
    • Find friends nearby – 22%
    • Search for deal or offer – 13%.
  • Everything has a location – whether at home, on screen or using phone.
  • Offering deals via mobile is important, but must be relevant and of value to recipient
  • Mobile apps and checkins not necessarily best method of delivering offers.
  • Simple but fun wins – gaming (SVNGR, for example), trivia and augment reality can engage.
  • Leverage location-based marketing, brands have opportunity to:
    • Connect.
      • Interact with and engage an audience.
      • Provide rewarding experiences.
    • Collect.
      • Acquire data (including location-based) through permission-based relationships.
    • Convert.
      • Drive to web, store, or location for an experience.
  • Content can be generated, tagged and made addressable to people based on where they are.
  • Innovative example of using Foursquare to drive sampling – the GranataPet SnackCheck (see the YouTube video – very cool!).
  • A place is wherever you are – every person, every place, everything is geo-addressable.
  • Companies in Canada are behind on location-based marketing.
  • Shoppers of the future require platforms that allow them to research, review and shop anywhere and at anytime.
  • Retailers that leverage location-based marketing and embrace technological advances will be better suited to increase profitability and grow their customer base.

Twitter: @AsifRKhan

Social Media Week – What a Rush!

Wow … what an amazing, busy week it’s been so far at Social Media Week Toronto (#smwto). I’ve been attending a lot of events, spread across the city, and thus have not had much time to write.

There have been numerous intriguing discussions and debates, covering a wide range of topics related to social media. How will the group buying phenomenon evolve? How are mobile and social changing retail? What are some great case studies of companies that are effectively engaging with customers? What trends should we watch out for in 2011?

There is, however, one overarching topic that has permeated throughout the week – social media ROI.  How can a company’s social media efforts be measured in an effective and reliable manner, demonstrating the true value of allocating time, money and other applicable resources?

I intend to share my thoughts on social media ROI, as well as other other topics discussed at Social Media Week, in the weeks to come.  And now, off to my next event …

The Need for Innovation at Retail

I feel that innovative marketing at retail, specifically grocery stores, is currently lacking. Studies have shown that shopper marketing, done properly, can be a very effective driver of brand awareness and product purchase – more than mass and digital media. A recent trip to a Vancouver, BC grocery store revealed both good and bad examples of shopper marketing.

The good: When purchasing deli meats, a Hellman’s mayonnaise coupon was placed on the package. Right beside the deli was a well-placed, visible rack of Hellman’s mayonnaise.  Two complementary products, and a coupon presented in a unique manner  – well done. I had never seen that before, it caught my attention; a “purple cow” in Seth Godin lingo.

The bad: The same grocery store, for the last year, has been playing a short promotional video for a particular brand of meats near the frozen sausages section. I shop there every week, and I don’t think I ever recall anyone stopping to watch the video. It is not engaging, there is no incentive to watch. Who really cares, and who has the time? What a waste.

How can brands be more innovative at retail? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Add value by promoting quick, easy to access digital recipes on packaging.  A simple link to a website, or perhaps Facebook group, will suffice. Enable consumers to easily share the recipes with their friends, perhaps using the Facebook “like” feature.
  2. Consider a cause-related incentive to purchase. People care about brands that truly strive to make a difference, through genuine relationships and partnerships with charities. TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need, for each pair purchased. How about donating a portion of proceeds for each sale to a relevant charity?
  3. Ensure that your packaging is innovative.  Employ functionality wherever possible, making it easy to store. Also make sure that your design truly stands out, without adding to the messaging clutter found in grocery stores.


Read and Recommended (Jan 15)

Here are a couple of articles and a blog post that caught my attention over the past few weeks.

2010: The Year of Mobile

(Peter Kim’s blog) A year from now, we’re going to look back on what happened this year and declare that it was finally the “year of mobile.”

Social Media is the New Super Bowl: Pepsi Refresh and What It Means to Marketers

(The Forrester Blog for Interactive Marketing Professionals) If you track Social Media news, I’m sure you saw the eye-catching headline: “Pepsi’s Big Gamble: Ditching Super Bowl for Social Media”. For the first time in 23 years–23 years!–the brand will not be purchasing a Super Bowl spot.  Instead, it is sinking $20M into a Social Media program called Pepsi Refresh. The Pepsi Refresh site will allow people to vote for worthwhile community projects, and Pepsi expects to sponsor thousands of local efforts via this program.

The #1 Problem Most Brands Have

(Mitch Joel’s blog, Six Pixels of Separation) It’s not about profit. It’s not about customer service. It’s not about inventory. It’s about consistency.

Looking Forward to 2010 and Beyond

This post is also published on the BCAMA marketline blog.

Ten years ago at this time, on New Year’s Eve 1999, there was a significant amount of uncertainty worldwide regarding potential computer failures. Ah yes, the infamous Y2K bug. It was also a time for reflection and anticipation, particularly given that it was not just the dawn of a new year, but also a new century.

It is amazing to look back and observe the innovation and changes that have occurred over the past ten years.

From a marketing standpoint, we have witnessed a number of things, including:

  • The rise of Google and the importance of search engine optimization. “You are what Google says you are”. Try typing in the name of your own brand, or heck even your own name, and see what you get. As many as 59% of online consumers now use search engines as a source of researching product information. How did I find that stat? Well, using Google, of course!
  • Media fragmentation. Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of available methods for communicating brand messages to target audiences. A recent global study revealed that, for the first time, the Internet is more popular medium than TV. Now, more than ever, companies need to figure out who their target market is, and determine the best methods for engaging them.
  • Social media. Some companies, such as Starbucks and Ford, have done a great job at leveraging social media to truly engage consumers, deepening relationships and enhancing loyalty. However, it seems that many companies and their respective agencies are still trying to grasp the power and potential strategic applications. See Motrin and Toyota. With countless blogs, and tens of millions of people using social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, social media is here to stay. Your customers are talking about you. Have you joined the conversation?
  • The long tail. Made possible by the Internet, and popularized by Chris Anderson in a 2004 Wired magazine article and his book “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More”, companies such as Amazon have achieved success through a niche selling strategy of selling a large number of unique items in small quantities. This has resulted in some new marketing techniques, including the strategic use of word-of-mouth and viral marketing.
  • Mobile access and smartphones. Smartphone usage and WiFi access is increasing worldwide, and so is mobile commerce. Consequently, companies must consider optimizing their websites for mobile access. Opportunities also exist to develop marketing strategies involving mobile applications and augmented reality.

These are just a few highlights that came to mind, as you know there are scores of others.

As I write this, on New Year’s Eve 2009, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds for marketing and advertising. However, there is also significant opportunity for companies to thrive  – leveraging new mediums and technology to grow awareness for their brands, as well as engage and deepen relationships with consumers.

The computers did not stop working on January 1, 2000, and the sky is not falling right now. Far from it.

It will be interesting to see what the next ten years have in store. What are your predictions? Please feel free to share your thoughts here. It would also be great to hear your insights on the decade that just passed.

Wishing you all of the best for a successful and prosperous 2010.

Cheers,

Eric

Foursquare Launches in Vancouver

Last Wednesday, Foursquare was launched in Vancouver at an event hosted by 6S Marketing. Foursquare is a new social media game that enables people to connect and interact with others using their mobile phones, while also identifying and tracking various places and locations visited – such as restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions.

People score points in the game by completing various tasks, such as identifying their current location using the Foursquare application (using a “Checking In” function in the app). As points are accumulated during game play, participants are awarded badges to indicate their level of achievement.

In hosting the launch event, 6S Marketing initiated a crowd-sourcing experiment to record Vancouver venues for Foursquare game play. Vancouver has a very strong and vibrant social media scene, and many notable people attended the launch event. People were encouraged to use start using Foursquare when visiting different venues. Over the weekend, I entered a few venues into the application, and even received some extra bonus points for being the first person to record them.

It will be interesting to see how Foursquare evolves, and whether it’s use takes off truly takes off. It already has gained a foothold in several US cities, and several Hollywood celebrities are using it – including Ashton Kutcher, the most followed person on Twitter.

The application does have some potential marketing applications, particularly with regards to experiential marketing for small businesses. For example, a restaurant could offer a discounted drink to someone who “Checks In” using Foursquare.  In turn, people connected to that person would learn about the drink discount, and potentially be enticed to visit the venue. Incentive programs would, theoretically, increase usage of Foursquare amongst mobile users – in turn increasing the promotion that businesses listed on Foursquare receive.

That might just be the tip of the iceberg. I am going to continue to use Foursquare, and will write additional posts to update you on my experience with the application.